Before the Marine Corps can fully utilize the power of AI technology and the efficiencies it brings, the service must overcome one major hurdle: trust. "We're going to have to trust artificial intelligence," he said during remarks at the National Defense Industrial Association's Expeditionary Warfare Conference in February. Whether it's "sensor-to-shooter or fuel to a frontline unit, we put humans in the loop at about 16 places because we don't trust it yet," he said. The best way to boost confidence in the technology is to have Marines train machines, he said. Gen. Eric Austin, director of the Marine Corps' Capabilities Development Directorate, said building that faith in artificial intelligence will unlock its potential.
When it comes to future military readiness, 2019 has been the year of artificial intelligence. The Department of Defense launched its AI strategy in February followed by the White House's executive order on "Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence" -- both of which indicate accelerated delivery of AI-enabled capabilities and scaling the technology across DOD while cultivating a much-needed tech workforce. Military leaders recognize AI's potentially seismic impact on their mission and operations, and they expect practical applications to proliferate, from threat monitoring to asset tracking to predictive maintenance. Where, when and how those applications evolve from idea to reality is an unfolding story. So too is the global AI landscape, as Russia, China and other countries make substantial investments in such capabilities.
Protests in the ethnic Russian enclave in Riga, Latvia have NATO on edge. Russian units in the Western Military District are on alert conducting snap exercises involving autonomous ground and air attack systems. The Russian president makes a speech promising to protect ethnic Russians wherever they are with military forces if necessary. In response, a U.S. Army brigade combat team bolstered by intelligence, air defense, and aviation support elements from U.S. Army Europe deploys. Their mission is to reassure Latvian forces, deter Russian aggression, and if necessary conduct a mobile defense.
Is your agency ready for artificial intelligence (AI)? If not, what would it take to get to a place where it can enjoy the benefits of AI? A government agency's readiness for AI is not simply a question of preparing to buy and install new technology. The transformative nature of AI typically calls for preparation across multiple critical areas. To capture AI's potential to create value, government organizations will need a plan to retool the relevant existing processes, upskill or hire key staff, refine approaches toward partnership, and develop the necessary data and technical infrastructure to deploy AI.